One of the benefits of growing older is the ability to look back at our lives and wonder how in the hell we got to where we are today? Life is full of mistakes and errors in judgement, no one is immune to these things, and yet we still have to keep moving forward with our lives. A wrong choice doesn’t condemn us unless we let it. It is how we respond to those errors that ultimately defines us. Our scars are the badges of our experiences.
We have no control over other factors that determine who we are. Something as simple as being in the wrong place at the wrong time can have a profound impact on us. I think of the Parkland students when I say this. Those kids were where they were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to be doing when tragedy rocked their lives. What kind of world are we living in when kids go to school and don’t come home again because they were murdered at their school? Sadly some of those students will never have the opportunity to look back on their lives and wonder about the things that shaped them. What I have seen from the survivors is strength and courage, and a refusal to let what happened to them destroy their lives. It gives me hope for their future as well as for those whom they influence.
My background is nowhere near that dramatic. My mistakes and bad choices are not out of the ordinary, and they are numerous. I still have some scars that are sensitive and not properly healed. I don’t know if they will ever completely heal, but they make me who I am today. Trust and closeness are the two main scars I still have that are very tender and sensitive.
I have made some terrible choices in the past regarding friends. I would have been so much better off without those people in my life at all. I find myself wishing that I could go back in time to warn myself about the mistakes I was about to make, but everyone feels that way about something in their past. The results of those bad choices still linger and affect me to this day.
Even though my present response to a similar situation or person has changed from what it would have been before, that is part of the healing that I mentioned. The fight or flight response is something primal in all of us. When I was younger, I was much more trusting, today I am not quite the complete opposite, but it is very close to a 180 degree turn.
I grew up learning to be self-reliant from my parents. That has been a tremendous help as I have grown older. I never depend on other people for too much, except Hal. Hal knows the demons I have struggled with, and continue to. Time has made us into one, and that bond in unbreakable now. However, I find that I am not willing to stretch out for other people as I used to. My life has reached a level of calm that I struggled to attain. I don’t want to fuck that up for any reason.
My scars are the badges of my experience. They define me and make me who I am. It is foolish to try to undo this because I am who I am and that is just fine with me.